Warmer Ambient Temperatures Depress Detoxification and Food Intake by Marsupial Folivores

Beale, Phillipa K., Connors, Patrice K., Dearing, M. Denise, Moore, Ben D., Krockenberger, Andrew K., Foley, William J., and Marsh, Karen J. (2022) Warmer Ambient Temperatures Depress Detoxification and Food Intake by Marsupial Folivores. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, 10. 888550.

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Ambient temperature is an underappreciated determinant of foraging behaviour in wild endotherms, and the requirement to thermoregulate likely influences food intake through multiple interacting mechanisms. We investigated relationships between ambient temperature and hepatic detoxification capacity in two herbivorous marsupials, the common ringtail possum (Pseudocheirus peregrinus) and common brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula) that regularly feed on diets rich in plant toxins. As an indicator of hepatic detoxification capacity, we determined the functional clearance rate of an anaesthetic agent, Alfaxalone, after possums were acclimated to 10°C [below the thermoneutral zone (TNZ)], 18°C [approximately lower critical temperature (LCT)], and 26°C [approximately upper critical temperature (UCT)] for either 7 days or less than 24 h. We then measured intake of foods with high or low plant secondary metabolite (PSM) concentrations under the same temperature regimes. After 7 days of acclimation, we found a positive correlation between the functional clearance rate of Alfaxalone and ambient temperature, and a negative relationship between ambient temperature and intake of foods with high or low PSM concentrations for both species. The effect of ambient temperature on intake of diets rich in PSMs was absent or reduced when possums were kept at temperatures for less than 24 h. Our results underscore the effects of ambient temperature in hepatic metabolism particularly with respect intake of diets containing PSMs. Given that the planet is warming, it is vital that effects of ambient temperature on metabolism, nutrition and foraging by mammalian herbivores is taken into account to predict range changes of species and their impact on ecosystems.

Item ID: 75424
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2296-701X
Keywords: climate change, Eucalyptus, functional clearance rate, foraging, temperature-dependent toxicity, detoxification, marsupial, folivory
Copyright Information: Copyright © 2022 Beale, Connors, Dearing, Moore, Krockenberger, Foley and Marsh. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC)
Projects and Grants: ARC DP140100228, ARC DE120101263
Date Deposited: 06 Jul 2022 09:24
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310308 Terrestrial ecology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1806 Terrestrial systems and management > 180606 Terrestrial biodiversity @ 50%
19 ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY, CLIMATE CHANGE AND NATURAL HAZARDS > 1901 Adaptation to climate change > 190102 Ecosystem adaptation to climate change @ 50%
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